Everyone knows New Zealand for its unparallelled landscapes, friendly locals and adventure sports. If you haven’t the slightest idea what to expect, go watch any of the Lord of the Rings or Hobbit films. Imagine that world but instead of mythical creatures, you get Kiwis (the people, and the birds, and the fruit).
There are many reasons to visit New Zealand and there are loads of resources out there that will tell you why you should make the trip. Hype aside, this microcontinent can be quite a mission to get to. We’re here to tell you whether it’s worth it or not.
Reasons You Should Not Visit New Zealand
Let’s start with the flight time. If you’re travelling to Auckland, the most popular airport to fly into, from Los Angeles you’re looking at a 12 to 14-hour flight. Flying from New York? Get comfortable because you’ll be on that plane for 20 hours. If you’re in Europe, you should book off an additional vacation day, you’ll be spending a whopping 24+ hours in the sky.
New Zealand isn’t known for budget travelling, but it can be done on the cheap if you try hard enough. First, you need to have enough to get there and stay there. If you’re flying from California in December, budget $900 to 1,500USD for a round-trip ticket. From New York, $1,200 to $2,000USD. Depending on the city and how many stars the hostel, hotel or Airbnb has, the price of accommodations averages about $60 to $100USD a night. Alternatively, you could rent a campervan to travel and sleep in. It could cost at least $100USD per day during the high season.
Having Enough Time
While the country is small, there is a lot to do and see. If you’re going to fly half-way around the world, we recommend that you set aside at least two weeks to explore all that New Zealand has to offer. This may not be possible for everyone when travel time, jet lag, and time off work are factored in.
Why Visiting New Zealand Is Worth It
After reading all the reasons you shouldn’t visit New Zealand, it might come as a surprise that we still think travelling there is totally worth it. Here’s why.
An All-In-One Vacation
The planet is full of nature to explore, things to do and wine to drink. What’s special about New Zealand is that you can do all the things without needing to travel much in between. Take the North Island, for example:
- Start with breakfast at Auckland’s Odette’s Eatery.
- Spend the day on Waiheke Island, where you can do almost anything from ziplining and scuba diving to relaxing on the beach and sipping on island wine at a vineyard.
- After the sun sets, head over to Lake McLaren Falls Park, where you can kayak into a pitch-black canyon and hang out with the glow worms.
- Wrap up your epic day by dining by the waterfront at Harbourside in Tauranga, just a 20-minute drive from Lake McLaren Falls Park.
To ensure you have everything you need for your jam-packed day, bring a backpack, like the Solgaard Shore-Tex™ Daypack, with you.
Pro Packing Tip: In New Zealand, the weather can change in a snap. Make sure to pack layers, so you can be ready for sun, clouds and rain.
While bungee jumping existed elsewhere before New Zealand got in on the action, the first commercial organized bungee company was established in New Zealand in the ‘80s. Want to scare the life out of your family, and yourself? Go for the highest bungee jump in the world above Nevis Canyon, just outside Queenstown.
There are also a few things you can do only in New Zealand:
- The Northern Lights get all the buzz, but what about the Southern Lights (Aurora Australis)? You’re just as unlikely to catch them as the Northern Lights, but if you do your research, it’s well worth it.
- The wildlife in New Zealand is perhaps one of the most unique aspects of the country. Did you think that Penguins only live in Antarctica? Think again. New Zealand is home to six different species of these tuxedo-wearing birds. Speaking of birds, some of the coolest birds you’ll ever see exist only in New Zealand, like the kiwi bird, wood pigeon and fantail.
- If you live in a city, you’re no stranger to light pollution. In the darkness of the New Zealand sky, stargazing is a real treat.
- You can ski down an active volcano. Mt. Ruapehu offers snow sports in the Winter and hiking (or tramping, as New Zealanders say it) year-round.
- On the West Coast of the South Island, you’ll find the Franz Josef Glacier, where you can hop on a helicopter and hike a world-renowned glacier.
Have You Booked Your Flight Yet?
There are few places in the world where you can surf in the morning and snowboard at night, or go wine tasting after a day of rock climbing. The verdict is clear. New Zealand is definitely worth the trip.